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Cities With Large Black Populations More Likely to Use Fines to Increase Revenue: Study

Cities with large black populations are more likely to use fines to increase revenue, a new study found.

Political science researchers at the University of Memphis and Vanderbilt University based their findings on data collected from more than 9,000 cities, the online news outlet Vox reported.

“The average collection was about $8 per person for all cities that get at least some revenue from fines and fees, but that rose to as much as $20 per person in the cities with the highest black populations,” Vox reported.

This study also alludes to an ongoing problem of the exploitative relationship cities and local law enforcement have with black populations.

For example, in 2015, the Justice Department found that the police department of Ferguson, Missouri, where a white police officer killed Michael Brown, had a pattern of racial bias — including disproportionately stopping and using force against black residents.

Two years earlier, revenue from fines and court fees were almost 10 percent of Ferguson’s budget.

The study concluded that after researchers found that the relationship between race and fines declined by about half when at least one black person served on a city council, a potential solution for solving the issue would involve electing more black people to local government.

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